4 Special Education State Testing Tips and Tricks

Are you a teacher or parent of a student with special needs who is preparing for state testing? If so, you know that this can be a stressful and overwhelming time. But don’t worry, we’ve got some tips and tricks to help you and your student navigate the testing process and succeed.


First and foremost, make sure you understand your state’s testing accommodations for students with special needs. These accommodations are designed to level the playing field and allow students with disabilities to show what they know. Common accommodations include extra time, small group testing, and the use of assistive technology.

Communicate with your student’s special education teacher or case manager to ensure that the appropriate accommodations are put in place for state testing. This is especially important if your student has never received accommodations before or if their needs have changed since the last time they were tested.

Make sure that your students have access to the accommodations that are outlined in their Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). This may include extended time, the use of assistive technology, or other accommodations that can help them succeed. They need access to these items throughout testing. Take time to review them this week.

Review Content

Help your student prepare for the state testing by reviewing the content and format of the exam. Many states provide practice tests and sample questions online, so take advantage of these resources. You can also use commercially available study guides and review books to help your student learn the material.

Review test-taking strategies with your students prior to testing day. This can include strategies for managing time, eliminating incorrect answer choices, and staying calm under pressure.

Testing Environment

Create a positive testing environment for your student. Make sure they get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy breakfast on that day. It can also be helpful to provide your student with a quiet, comfortable place to take the test and minimize distractions.

Many special education students have a difficult time focusing when they are hungry. Having snacks available during testing can help keep their energy levels up and help them concentrate. Be sure to check with the school’s policy regarding snacks during testing.

Some students may need more frequent breaks during state testing to help them stay focused and manage their energy levels. Plan for these breaks ahead of time, and communicate with the testing coordinator to ensure that they are allowed.

State Testing Tips for Kids

Encourage your student to take their time and read the questions carefully. State testing can be long and tiring, so it’s important for students to pace themselves and avoid rushing through the exam. If your student needs a break, they should raise their hand and ask the proctor for permission to take one.

Remind your student that it’s okay to guess if they don’t know the answer. Many state protocols do not penalize students for guessing, so encourage your student to eliminate any obviously wrong answers and make an educated guess.

Finally, make sure that your students know that you are there to support them during testing. Encourage them to ask for help if they need it, and remind them that their performance on the test is just one measure of their abilities.


Finally, celebrate your student’s success and accomplishments. State testing is just one measure of your student’s knowledge and abilities, so don’t put too much emphasis on the results. Instead, focus on the progress your student has made and the hard work they put into preparing for the assessment.

Remember, every student is unique and may require different supports and accommodations. So, work closely with your student’s special education team to ensure that their needs are met and they have the best chance of success.

Looking for a different way to measure student progress? Check out the information regarding student evaluations.

Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner